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Dec 8, 2011

Anti-Foreign Elements in Korea

Korea has been accused, by many in and outside of Korea, as being overly reticent and reluctant in utilizing its economic power for the world good.

The Lee Administration has made, seemingly, sincere efforts to raise the reputation of the nation by more active engagement in the international community. At home, he has been wrongly criticized by the liberal elite as being too "friendly to foreigners."

In a great sign of the government being more in line with the international community, the South Korean government is likely to reduce the imports of crude oil from Iran.

Korean wire service Yonhap has noted that:
Imposing bilateral sanctions on Iran is "shaping up as an obligation as a responsible member of the international community, not a matter of choice," Yonhap quoted the source as saying.

The report added, "If this situation regarding Iran continues, we will have to take a step to change the oil import channel," the source said, adding Saudi Arabia can be an alternative source of imports. South Korea imports about 9% of its crude oil from Iran.
Hopefully, the next administration will continue on this course. Korea is a nation that heavily relies on exports. The vast majority of the economy is exported driven. However, Korea is one of the most nationalistic and politically fickle nations in Asia. An anti-foreign element exists and this element has a good opportunity to win the presidency and the Korean National Assembly in the next elections.

A negative image of the nation, in the eyes of non-Koreans, may decrease the ability of the nation to maintain its present "neutral" image in the world, especially in times when domestic markets are faltering. Increasing, the exported products are brand name products. As we are all aware, negative impressions can turn a brand from a winner to a buggy whip in a matter of months.

What do you think?
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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com